The authors present a new technique of end-to-side microvascular anastomosis in a rat carotid artery model, employing a milliwatt CO2 laser. Both carotid arteries were isolated and approximated in an end-to-side fashion by the placement of four 10-0 nylon stay sutures. The milliwatt CO2 laser was used to effect vessel anastomosis between the sutures, using 70-100 mW of power. Animals were killed 8 weeks postoperatively. Angiography of each anastomosis was performed in all animals. All anastomoses were then harvested, and submitted for histological analysis. Anastomotic patency was 100%, both intraoperatively and angiographically. There was no evidence of intravascular thrombus, anastomotic stenosis, or pseudoaneurysm formation. Early in the experiment, some anastomoses showed localized dilatation at the anastomotic site. The histologic changes at the anastomotic site are described. Laser-assisted microvascular anastomosis is a feasible technique, and a potential alternative to conventional suture techniques.
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